It’s coming up on the end of my first week in Ghana.  I am on a GSK PULSE assignment to the Tropical Laboratory Initiative of the Millenium Villages Project located in Manso NKwanta and the Bonsaaso cluster.  I spent a few thrilling days at the Tontokrom laboratory and have toured several of the clinics in the cluster.  I was able to diagnose my first several cases of malaria as well as a case of Hepatitis B. This laboratory is SO important for the local villages as the lab supplies diagnostic tests for several thousand people who would have to travel to the district hospital 10s of kilometers away and have blood drawn there to get results which we can provide in minutes.  The assays are run at satellite clinics and then couriers on motorbikes collect them and bring them to the lab to run.  All of this would work perfectly except for one problem–The power grid in Ghana is completely unreliable!  Power is off almost 12 hours a day, or trickles on and off.  Thank goodness for a solar backup. Fortunately, most of the tests can be run despite the lack of electricity, but it affects everything here from phone service, water (need pumps), internet (modems need electricity), etc.  Despite all of that, the people remain upbeat and shrug off the difficulties.  Thanks so much to GSK and the PULSE team for providing me the opportunity to help save lives here.


  1. It’s great to see your blog Ken. We aren’t in training anymore, are we? You are doing great things in Ghana. I look forward to following your journey:)

  2. Another GSK colleague, Nela, was a part of setting up the Tropical Lab Initiative in 2010. I remember visiting it back then when she and I were both PULSE volunteers. So exciting to hear that it’s still going!

  3. Nela is a legend in Manso Nkwanta and TontoKrom! They revere her here and the work she accomplished as a PULSE volunteer! Her picture is still on the wall of the lab. I have big shoes to fill.

  4. Great to hear from the ground Ken! Love that you are being able to make a difference even in your 1st few days. Its also fantastic to hear about our own Nela as being a legend – can you take a pic of her pic on the wall & share? Best wishes, Manu Juneja

  5. Great to hear your story Ken. As a medical technologist in a former life your lab work warms my old heart! Amazing work/amazing experience – find any Art carvings yet?

  6. So great to hear from you Ken and that you arrived to Ghana safely. It’s incredible work that you are doing and it will have a lasting impact on so many people. Regards, Angela

  7. Great to read your PULSE blog, thanks for sharing your amazing adventure and the high impact already! Keep the stories coming. Enjoy, and be safe.

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